I was regularly visiting locations that were totally unfamiliar to me. With no internet at that time, there was little documentation of existing work, and I was forced to innovate on the fly, to create images using compositional skills that were not influenced by other photographers or artists. This was a period of what I call “discovery” landscape photography.
Both landscape photography approaches offer advantages and disadvantages. Both are important. And both have provided me with rewarding experiences and memorable images.
The Previsualized Approach
The white granite is young by geological standards. In fact, so is the entire Sierra Nevada mountain range, which is still growing. Small glaciers cling to some of the high summits—on the northern slopes, where there is less direct sun, and above 12,000 feet, where it is cooler. Waterfalls plummet down the canyons through a maze of steep cliffs and deep alpine lakes, and only take a respite while meandering through the occasional meadow. The scent of the granite mixes with foxtail pine sap, ozone and wild onion. The Sierra Nevada mountains are familiar to me. I’ve been sleeping under the stars, high up in their steeps, for more than 40 years.